Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Twenty First Century Searching for the Classic Station Wagon


On-line research is a powerful way to obtain information quickly. Recently I came across this fascinating 8x10 sized photo of a unknown vehicle. I made a digital copy of the print not knowing anything about the car. The shiny black and white image was originally made by a sharp lens camera that left many details resolvable. In this case the year of the Illinois (a 42N state) license plate reads either 1951 or 1961.

Studying the photo reveals that the station wagon included wood paneling along its sides - a so called, Woodie. The search began for Woodie station wagons in Google with initial results showing Ford Woodies of surfing fame in California during the late 1950s and early 1960s - think Beach Boys. More refined Google searches ended the quest with an answer to what model is pictured above.

The auto from the shady countryside is a 1950 or 1951 Pontiac Streamliner 8 Station Wagon. In its day the automobile had Hydra-Matic transmission and 268.2 cubic inch engine with inline 8 cylinders that generated 113 hp. The car weighed a whopping 3,669 pounds - almost two tons! In 1950 Streamliners cost $2,411, that's about 65 cents per wood paneling and chrome plated pound.

Fifty years later a restoration project on another Streamliner is proudly shown below. Note the upside down canoe shaped paneling and side detailing by the wheels matching the black and white photo. While this Woodie is far from the endless summer waves of California, its nice to know that the car is still appreciated today. On-line research often yields results containing more than what is expected. Know that.